VMAX CP for Log Insight rebrand

When Dell took over EMC, there were a number of sub-company names created for the purposes of distinguishing products across our portfolio. While the company as a whole is known as Dell Technologies, the division I work for retained the EMC name so we are known as Dell EMC (hence my banner). (This is not inside information by the way, you can find this out with a simple Google search.) The new name, however, could not simply be stamped onto existing products willy-nilly, as it would serve to confuse our customers (and truth be told the employees too). For some products it was fairly easy to add the Dell prefix as in Dell EMC VMAX, but other name changes will take longer and some I suspect will never change. One of the products I own – the VMAX Content Pack for VMware Log Insight –  is ready for the change, but doing so does disrupt the continuity of the product so I am going to explain it here.

For those who are unaware of this product, VMware vRealize Log Insight is VMware’s log aggregator that delivers automated log management through log analytics, aggregation and search. Besides VMware logs, you can configure any component in your infrastructure to send logs to Log Insight (syslog) for storage in the database. Viewing that log information as is, however, can be daunting. To address this, VMware uses Content Packs which are collections of dashboards, queries, user-defined fields, etc. that logically display the log information. This enables administrators to conduct problem analysis and analytics on their array(s). We have a Content Pack for VMAX (VMAX CP) which aggregates our log information sent from Solutions Enabler and Unisphere for VMAX. If you need more detail on Log Insight (LI) and the VMAX CP in general (along with how the Marketplace works), I have lots of posts you can leverage before continuing on here.

So LI started at version 1.0 back around the summer of 2013. At that time I created the VMAX CP (one of the first available), and since then have updated it about 7 times up to the current LI release 4.3. The CP is called the “EMC – VMAX” Content Pack. I’m sure it didn’t take you long to realize that we are missing a word there – Dell. Unfortunately renaming the CP isn’t exactly straightforward. Because LI relies on the name (and something called the namespace) to offer upgrades through the Marketplace, changing those settings breaks the upgrade path. In the end there wasn’t another option except to create a new CP. The LI team at VMware headed by Ted Dunn was great getting me through the process. What we decided to do was create the new Dell EMC – VMAX CP, version 1.0, and over time remove the existing 3.0 EMC – VMAX CP.

Right now both CPs are available in the VMware Marketplace – red is new, blue is old:

If you are new to VMAX, it’s quite easy since you simply pick the new Dell EMC – VMAX CP. If, however, you already have the EMC – VMAX CP installed, you first need to uninstall it. Here are the steps go about transitioning to the new CP. I’ll list the steps and then show them graphically.

  1. Navigate to the Content Packs page within LI from the right-hand menu
  2. From the left-hand menu select EMC-VMAX under Installed Content Packs
  3. From the drop-down menu on the widget, select Uninstall
  4. Confirm Uninstall


Once uninstalled, you can install the Dell EMC – VMAX CP.

I’ve updated the documentation, but right now the only one available is part of the zip that you can download from the Solutions Exchange. Just select the “Try” button and it will download a zip file with the PDF. I’ll have the one on support.EMC.com updated in a few days. Remember that Log Insight is a free product if you have a vCenter license so really there is no reason not to try it.

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VMware Log Insight 4.0

VMware just released Log Insight (LI) version 4.0. Generally for LI releases my posts are light because it never makes sense to me to elaborate extensively when Steve Flanders (@sflanders) owns this space. You can find his site at sflanders.net where he will go into all the details (over time with many posts) about 4.0 as he has done with all the previous releases. I’m just going to mention some highlights here, but if you are interested here is the list of all the updates.

release_notes

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Anyway, the first thing you’ll notice is a new UI. VMware calls this their VMware Clarity standard. Here is the new login screen – clean comes to mind (which I personally like).

login_screen

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And with the VMAX Content Pack installed, here is the Overview dashboard. VMware upgrades to Log Insight never break Content Packs, though many vendors will update them to take advantage of new features. I am in the process of updating the VMAX CP to include compression information for those customers running VMAX All Flash arrays, and I’ll include some things in LI 4.0.

overview_4-0

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Another nice feature in relation to Content Packs is an Updates screen which show the user any available updates to Content Packs they currently have installed. You can then update them individually or all at once. cp_updates

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There is also a new “gauge” chart type. This chart type requires a single scalar data type – which basically means no time series, and no group by. Here I have an example of my original bubble chart type for storage containers and below it I’ve converted to the gauge type. Note that VMware will generate the green/yellow/red levels automatically. You can adjust these if you want and I’ve included where you do that in Interactive Analysis below the charts.

gauge_change

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Remember with vCenter Server licenses you get free LI licenses so it’s always worth a test drive.

VMAX CP 3.0, Log Insight 3.3 and free licenses

Today VMware released Log Insight (LI) version 3.3 (Log Insight 3.3).  There are lots of new features in both the server and the agent.  For full details of LI 3.3 check out Steve Flanders’ blog who is the only one who can do it justice – LI 3.3 SFlanders.  In concert with the LI 3.3 release I have published a new version of the VMAX Content Pack – 3.0.  I have a number of blog entries that cover what the VMAX CP is in general (Log Insight Blog Entries), so I’m not going to rehash it here.  Instead I’m going to quickly go through the few changes I made to latest VMAX CP.

First, recall that the content packs are published in the Marketplace within Log Insight so you don’t need to download it separately (although you can get it in the VMware Cloud Marketplace if the LI instance does not have external access).

marketplaceClick to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

Once installed you can view the VMAX CP which includes a link to the setup instructions (VMAX CP whitepaper).

vmax_cpClick to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

Now to the changes.  The major update I did was to add a new dashboard for VMware Virtual Volumes (VVols).  While support for VVols on the VMAX3 is still under direct availability, it will be GA shortly so I wanted to be sure that the content pack supported it before that time.  Here is a view of that dashboard and its 3 widgets:

vvol_dashboardClick to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

To support the new dashboard I added 2 new user fields, one to categorize a storage container, and the other to reflect the percent that storage container is filled:

  • emc_vmax_scontainer
  • emc_vmax_scontainer_percent

I also made various updates to the other dashboards to take advantage of the new table-type widget which is used in the VVol dashboard above.  For instance, in the Overview dashboard I converted the All configuration changes widget to a table widget:

table_changesClick to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

In many cases the table widget is just easier to navigate, though not as colorful.

Finally, I made performance enhancements to the CP which should help return queries more quickly.

I do want to mention the new VMware licensing model for Log Insight.  VMware is now giving away 25 OSI Log Insight licenses with every vCenter:

free_picClick to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

Now perhaps you already use a competitor’s product and have no interest at all in using VMware’s log aggregator; but if you don’t or have not even looked at log aggregators you can now use this one for free.  And if you are going to use it and happen to own one of our VMAX arrays, feel free to install the latest VMAX Content Pack which will help organize those EMC logs.  After all free is good.

vRealize Log Insight VMAX CP update

I recently published an updated VMAX Content Pack (CP 2.5.1) for VMware vRealize Log Insight.  It is available both on the Solutions Exchange:

VMAX CP Solutions Exchangesolutions_exchange

As well as through the Log Insight Marketplace which is embedded into the product:

marketplaceClick to enlarge in new window

This was not intended to be an extensive update but at the time I was planning on posting, VMware let me know they had instituted a new program in an attempt to standardize content packs.  The standardization, however, is not in the sense of VMware wishing to control what a partner wants to show; but rather it is to ensure the partner’s pack is the best it can be and things like queries will execute as quickly as possible.  So in the end this is a good thing though admittedly I wasn’t thrilled with the piling on of work.  I should note, however, that if a CP is already posted, VMware is not taking it down so if you use other partner packs only new postings will have updates.  Given VMware is releasing a new version of Log Insight soon, I would expect most will update at that point.  My new 2.5.1 update will work with that upcoming release as I am part of the beta program so unless something changes I won’t have an update for that release.

Anyway with that long-winded explanation let me cover the few things I did end up updating (minus the VMware requested changes).

One of the areas I’ve spent time investigating for the CP is SLOs on the VMAX3.  In our initial release of the V3 we did not have any alerting capability related to the SLOs – i.e. when a storage group falls out of compliance.  We did however, display the compliance like so:

SLO_UnisphereClick to enlarge in new window

When you provision storage in the more recent Unisphere 8.0.x versions, you will now be asked if you wish to enable compliance alerts.  By default this box will be unchecked:

SLO_compliance_enable_sgClick to enlarge in new window

What this does is setup an alert for this storage group.  Though the alert is set, notifications are not, which means that if there is an alert it will only show up in Unisphere.  To enable notifications, navigate to the Administration page, Alert Settings and select SLO Compliance Alert Policies:

 

SLO_compliance_alerts_setupClick to enlarge in new window

Once in the compliance alerts, select the storage group, in this case the previously created “SLO_test”.  There is no notification set.  Select Notify and then define the notification you wish to receive.  In this case I have selected Syslog so Log Insight receives it.

enable_SLO_syslogClick to enlarge in new window

There are a few rules to keep in mind concerning storage groups when using this feature.  The storage group must:

  • Be either a child or standalone. Parent storage groups are not supported.
  • Be associated with an SLO other than Optimized or None.
  • Contain volumes other than gatekeepers
  • Be in a masking view
  • Not have a policy currently associated with it

BTW, if you fail to check the box during provisioning but still wish to enable the compliance check, it can also be done from the SLO Compliance Alert Policies page.  Simply select Create (in previous image) and select the storage group to add.  You will still need to setup notifications after this:

create_SLO_alertClick to enlarge in new window

In all cases, by default, the three compliance states are checked but can be adjusted.  If you want to know when an alert is generated, the Unisphere help explains the algorithm.

So all this to say that I’ve added a new widget, Storage group SLO compliance change, to the FAST VP dashboard and renamed it to FAST/SLO.  It is designed to show the alerts we just configured:

FAST_SLO_dashboardClick to enlarge in new window

In addition to the dashboard, I added 5 new user-defined fields for VMAX3 logs in particular.  I’ve put them in a table below with their purpose.

user_fieldsThe latest whitepaper is updated with some of this information (I did not include the compliance walk-through) – VMAX CP for Log Insight WP  The WP is also included in the zip file from Solutions Exchange.

Alerts with VMAX ESA/Content Pack for Log Insight

In my last post (https://drewtonnesen.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/esa-2-4-1-ga-vplex-vmax-fast-vp/) I noted that one of the futures we are looking into for VMAX ESA is the ability to record alerts against resources.  This capability would be completely inherent to ESA.  I also mentioned, however, that we can do something similar with VMware Log Insight (LI) in conjunction with VMAX ESA.  I found myself working on a future update to the VMAX Content Pack (CP) for LI so I thought I’d take the time to show how that integration would work.  I’ll start with the environment I’m working with:

Rather than using screenshots I’ve done quick animations in this blog entry just to be clear on all the steps.  Let’s start with the general integration between the two VMware products.  This is accomplished in the administration portion of LI.  All we have to do is supply the server/IP of the vCOPS environment and the password.    After configuring the environment I demonstrate how you can launch LI from vCOPS:

integrateClick to play in browser – use browser back button to return to post

Once the integration is in place, we can now setup alerts in LI that will be forwarded to vCOPS and in particular the resources of our VMAX.

For this example I chose to use the status of a director.  In the VMAX CP I already have an alert for directors going offline so I am just going to use that the basis for my customized alert for ESA.  In the animation I do the following:

  1. Manage the director alert and run it as a query
  2. Using the existing results, I can select one of the VMAX user-defined fields to specifically select the FA I want to be alerted about (note as I have only one VMAX I did not qualify my query with the emc_vmax_symid but you certainly can make it as specific as you want)
  3. Once I am happy with my query, I turn it into an alert
  4. After providing a name to the alert I select sending it to vCOPS and associate it with an ESA VMAX resource (the FA in my query)

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Now with my enabled alert, if my FA happens to go offline (which mind you NEVER happens on a VMAX) I will be alerted in ESA.  So I admit I had to create a fake offline event because otherwise I never could have finished the blog entry.  This last animation then starts with ESA at the Storage Topology dashboard with my VMAX adapter instance highlighted.  I should note that there are many ways to find an alert in vCOPS from setting up a watch list to navigating directly to the Alerts page.  I thought it would be clearer to navigate to the resource so you can see the association.  I navigate down through one of my storage groups, through a device to the FAs and there see that I have an alert (2 actually) against my FA-1H.  By selecting the alerts icon I can get more detail which shows me that LI sent me the alert.  Then I use the LI integration from the vCOPS side to bring up LI and the log entry in question.  So here it is:

 vcopsClick to play in browser – use browser back button to return to post

In my opinion (and not simply because I created it 🙂 ) the key to making this integration easy is the VMAX Content Pack.  As it already has the pre-defined user fields, creating the necessary alerts are quite straightforward and provide the capability of narrowing down to the smallest log detail.

For ESA for VMAX:

https://support.emc.com/products/32027_Storage-Analytics-SW-for-VMAX

For general VMware LI info best to see Steve’s site:

http://sflanders.net/log-insight/

VMAX3 and the VMAX CP for VMware Log Insight

A quick note here in the wake of our big announcement this week about the VMAX³ platform (http://pulseblog.emc.com/2014/07/08/new-vmax-introduces-new-category-enterprise-data-service-platform).  I have done thorough testing of the 2.0 version of my VMAX Content Pack for VMware Log Insight and am happy to report that it will work out-of-the-box with the VMAX³ platform (when you get your hands on one).  I will be making some tweaks to the CP in the next few weeks which may include enhancements for the VMAX³, but the current build (only) is ready to go.

As a reminder you can find the CP here:

https://solutionexchange.vmware.com/store/products/emc-vmax-content-pack

and for more detail on the CP check a previous post:

https://drewtonnesen.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/vmax-content-pack-2-0-for-vmware-log-insight-2-0/

 

Log Insight with Symmetrix VMAX – revisited for Unisphere

Cody recently posted an entry that discussed how Solutions Enabler can be configured to send logs to VMware vCenter Log Insight (http://codyhosterman.com/2013/07/10/using-vmwares-vcenter-log-insight-with-symmetrix-vmax/). He mentioned that in order for Unisphere for VMAX to send its information, additional configuration was required. So here is that additional information.

Continue reading “Log Insight with Symmetrix VMAX – revisited for Unisphere”

The VMAX Content Pack v1.5 for VMware vCenter Log Insight v1.5

In August 2013 I wrote about the VMAX Content Pack for VMware’s newly released Log Insight product (v1.0). At the time of release VMware was pushing hard for content packs and rode me pretty ragged for 2 weeks to produce one. As a result much of the detail around items like widgets was minimal. This was perfectly acceptable as VMware was also in the nascent stages of the product and content packs. Now with VMware’s release of Log Insight 1.5, they have made some important changes, particularly to the content pack component, which has allowed me to expand our VMAX Content Pack. As I’m only going to cover the new features of the content pack and how it relates to Log Insight v1.5, if you want the full Monty on Log Insight v1.5, VMware’s lead developer goes into detail here. Another great resource for everything Log Insight is Steve Flander’s blog: http://sflanders.net/ . Steve does a great job explaining the new features and how to use them as well as answering any questions.

Continue reading “The VMAX Content Pack v1.5 for VMware vCenter Log Insight v1.5”

The VMAX Content Pack for VMware vCenter Log Insight

The new VMAX Content Pack for Log Insight can be found here in the VMware Cloud Marketplace:

https://solutionexchange.vmware.com/store/products/emc-vmax-content-pack

All the information that you need to use the VMAX content pack is included in the download so I’ll keep this blog entry short. There is also a demo you can view to get an overview of the capabilities of the content pack.

Continue reading “The VMAX Content Pack for VMware vCenter Log Insight”

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